For War Child UK
Beth Mountford
13:31 4th February 2023

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Monday February 1st saw Metronomy play to a 2000 strong crowd at HERE, a four-month-old microdosed stadium venue on the outskirts of Soho. Performing live, Metronomy are a dissection of their amalgamated recorded sound, fracturing so that the viewer may see the intricacies, the inner workings, the cogs which turn to make the clock hands tick. While these parts can be singled out and examined on stage, the members have a specific chemistry which appears to control them, in sync. 

2000 strong the crowd may have been, but the vibe amongst them didn’t seem to be one of unity or joyousness. Rather, it was one of scowling at anyone who tried to make an advance through their firmly-staked territory. I made the arguable mistake of going to the bathroom right before the band began, leaving a relatively loose-knit crowd and returning to an inflexible logistical nightmare. 

"I swooned, and sang, and jumped very high in parts, leaving the gig so much more of a Metronomy fan than I was before..."

While Metronomy opened with 'Love Factory', I strategically edged my way forward via the right side of the crowd. I tried to catch a break in a spot near the barrier where I could just see the tops of the band’s heads, but I was mercilessly turned back into the crowd by a security guard, who said “get back in there, or get out!” Yikes. When I did finally find a spot I took a moment to breathe and relax to the buoyant, dystopian sound of 'The Bay'. Bassist Olugbenga Adelekan was really providing the energy at this stage, I took advantage of it and recharged. 

The set list was impeccably curated to showcase the many facets of the band. After the initial bouncy in-tracks, we were slowed down with 'Everything Goes My Way' and 'Things Will Be Fine'; a very light pop tune which really belongs in the determined resolve scene of a rom-com, or a TV ad for banking. For a minute the venue sounds so much like the soundtrack of a movie that I forget I’m actually watching a live band and not just living my life, the music in the background playing only for the audience’s benefit, watching me from home Truman Show style.

Around this time, front man Joseph Mount introduced the rest of the band and left them to an elaborate jam which brought the energy right back up. Up and up, until, what I dubbed in my phone notes as “the peak of the gig”: the huge teasing synth of 'Insecurity'. What a song. It’s fun, it’s honest, it’s very feminine. I retreated to the back of the crowd where there was more space to move around. The sought-after front can be a toxic place, never underestimate watching a gig from the back. Although, a man with a broom was making the rounds unnecessarily frequently. Weaving about the back of the crowd, around people, between their legs. Occasionally, if you hadn’t yet noticed him he would stand behind and slightly to the left of you, waiting either for you to notice him or for the sway of the music to move you right-wards serendipitously. Kudos to the diligent employees of the venue, but the floor was more than clean by my standards. 

The penultimate song bought the moment which the entire crowd had been waiting for - 'The Look'. To be fair to those who were holding out for it, it was definitely a vibe. For the first time that evening the noise of the crowd overtook the noise of the band - it was powerful. And finally, a moment which I hadn’t even realised I was waiting for, a moment which seemed so unlikely that I hadn’t considered its occurrence, Metronomy closed their set with The Upsetter. On a personal note, The Upsetter was the first Metronomy song which ever made it onto one of my playlists, many, many years ago, and seeing the band perform it live was surreal. They performed a very rich version of the song. Slow, like they were savouring it, drawing it out, and with an acoustic guitar. I swooned, and sang, and jumped very high in parts, leaving the gig so much more of a Metronomy fan than I was before.

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Photo: Helena Coma